Indulgence ©

By Jack Llawayllynn


Chapter 13: Bloody Pavement

Matt stood and stared coldly down at the man he had killed. He watched as Estaban calmly knelt and riffled the man's pockets, talking all the while on the cell phone tucked between his ear and his shoulder.

"Samson! Need a clean-up. Yeah, now. Tell Ruben to get his ass over here. Off Helensky Street. Yeah, I'll meet him. Get Julio to call Frank. We'll need a slug recovery on this one before it's dumped. Yeah, yeah, I got it." Estaban looked up at Matt, saw he still had the gun in his hand and rose to take the gun from Matt's fingers and slip it into a pocket of his light jacket. "Hang on a minute Samson," Esty turned Matt away from the dead man. "Go back to Sin, he's probably in a state. Go on, I'll take care of this."

Matt turned slowly and began to walk. He was numb, his thoughts still and distant. His feet moved, he managed not to run into anything or get hit by a car but he was not thinking, just walking. On auto-pilot his steps took him back to Sin. There was a crowd around him now, a group of people just milling around, staring down at the man cradling a dead girl. Sirens were wailing, drawing closer at last. Sin looked over when Matt knelt beside him.

"It's my fault," Sin said quietly. "McKenna warned me. I should have left town, should have just packed my bags and left."

Matt reached out and smoothed Trish's hair. Her face was turned away from him, buried in Sin's embrace. Sin held her close, tightly, refusing to let her go, her blood staining his hands, his jeans. Matt shook his head. "You didn't do this Sin. McKenna did and he's going to die for it." Sin's eyes locked with Matt's in understanding.

"You could be next," Sin warned.

"McKenna is next. No more running Sin. You can't escape, not when he strikes from the shadows like the coward he is. It's time to stop fleeing and start pursuing. We'll hunt the hunter. We'll find him and kill him."

An ambulance pulled up to the curb and people in the crowd grumbled about how long it had taken them to get there. Matt felt it had been and eternity since he had walked away from Estaban and even longer since he had seen Trish alive and breathing, standing in Sin's arms as she talked with obvious enthusiasm, then slipping away from them both, forever. Emergency personnel pushed through the people and knelt around Sin and Matt. "She's gone," Sin said bleakly to the man who took Trish's wrist in his hand. Suddenly Sin sobbed, his eyes filling with tears. He cradled Trish closer, hunching around her body, moaning. The man exchanged a glance with Matt.

"Let her go Sin," Matt said gently but Sin shook his head.

Matt put a soft hand on Sin's neck. "You have to. She doesn't need to be here Sin, with these people pointing and gawking at her."

Sin nodded in understanding but still it was another moment before he finally slid Trish's body into the arms of the emergency workers. Matt helped him stand and wrapped his arms around him as Sin broke down, his whole body wracked with the shudders of his sobbing. Blood soaked through from Sin's clothing to Matt's. Matt felt numb, like he was caught in a bad movie, someone else's nightmare, some made up dreamscape. All Matt could feel was the waves of emotion coming from Sin, touching him but not affecting him, not yet. They stood amid the chaos, the crowd, the sirens, and Sin cried.

Estaban was suddenly pushing through the crowd. "I couldn't catch him Matt. I'm sorry, he jumped a fence and disappeared. How is she?" Estaban asked one of the emergency workers as they laid her upon a gurney.

"She's gone," they informed him. Estaban shook his head. "I think the guy was aiming for me," he lied. "She just stepped accidentally into the line of fire."

""I'm sure the police will want to question each of you."

"No doubt," Estaban nodded, turning to look at a police car pulling up behind the ambulance. Again the crowd grumbled about response time. Estaban stepped forward as an officer climbed from the car, stepped between the policeman and Matt and Sin behind him, buying time.

"You see what happened?" the officer asked Estaban.

"Yes. We were just coming out of the building and Trish, that's the girl there, had just arrived by cab. She hugged her boyfriend, the one with the ponytail, and some guy just shot her down. He was across the street there." Estaban nodded to the shadowy alley across the way. "I think he was aiming for me and she just got in the way."

"Why would you think that?"

"I'm one of the owners of Chico's bar. I think you'll know the place." Estaban gave him his name, address and phone number and hoped that the cop would question him a little longer to give Sin time to pull himself together


"I know Chico's, you guys are a pit of trouble. Do you know who the gunman was?" The cop had taken out a pad and pen and was quickly jotting down everything Estaban said. Another police car pulled up and Estaban hoped Matt had the wherewithal not to mention that he had shot the gunman between the eyes.

"I have no idea who it was. I tried to chase him down but he was too fast. He jumped a fence on Riverside and I lost him." Riverside was blocks from Helensky Street but Estaban knew that Ruben was thorough and that there would be no evidence left to find except maybe a dark spatter of blood even if the cops did manage to wander into the right alley.

"What did he look like?"

"White, late thirties maybe, brown hair cut short, wearing jeans, a tan jacket and white tennis shoes. About 5'11 I'd say, one seventy-five or so. Could run fast." Estaban gave the cop an apologetic smile.

"So what relationship do you have with those people?" the cop waved a hand at Sin and Matt.


"I see, thank you. If I need anything else from you I'll let you know." He pushed passed Estaban and approached Sin who was now being questioned by a lady cop. Estaban heard him say that he hadn't seen anything, that he had been totally focused on Trish. When they turned to Matt Estaban held his breath. Matt looked like a zombie, his eyes blank, his face totally expressionless.

"I started to chase after him," Matt said tonelessly, "but Estaban seemed to be catching up to him and I was worried about Trish so I turned back. I didn't get a good look at the guy, just his back. Estaban could tell you more than I can." Matt glanced over at Estaban and Esty sighed in relief.

The cops didn't stay long and didn't seem overly concerned with Trish's murder. They saw murder everyday in the city. They were overworked, under paid and burned out. They wrote down the facts, saw to it that someone was called to clean up the blood and left, saying they would call if the guy was caught or if they had more questions. They offered to let Sin ride with Trish's body to the hospital but he refused with a silent shake of his head. Matt gave them the information on how to contact her parents, saying he had known the family for years but not explaining that he was her ex.

"Let's get you cleaned up," Matt said, turning Sin back toward the doors as the ambulance pulled away. They climbed the eternal steps in silence, their feet and hearts heavy.

"Did you really let that bastard get away Esty?" Sin asked, his tone accusing and contemptuous.

"No, I caught him," Estaban said carefully.

"What did you do to him?"

"Nothing." Estaban looked over at Matt.

"What? You just let the bastard go?" Sin yelled, stopping in his tracks.

"Hush Sin," Matt soothed. "The guy's dead."


"I shot him. He's dead." Matt started climbing again and the others followed. Sin exchanged a glance with Estaban who nodded in confirmation.

"Whoa! Wait a minute! With my gun? You did it with my gun?" Sin asked as he caught Matt's sleeve.

"Yes. You have a problem with that Sin?"

"Hell no", he said after a moment of thought, "I'd have done it myself."

"It's been taken care of anyway. Don't worry about it. Ruben and Samson are cleaning up. The cops will never even know the guy's dead. I wish you wouldn't insist on talking about this stuff on the stairs." Estaban pushed passed them and climbed higher. Sin sighed and released Matt's sleeve before following.

Estaban pushed the door to the apartment open and found Drift pacing inside. Behind him in the tank the squid was mirroring his restlessness, seeming to follow along, back and forth, back and forth across the glass. Drift looked shell shocked, his eyes huge and his face pale. Estaban snagged his arm and led him to the couch. He sat down and drew Drift into his lap like a child, snuggling him close. Matt put an arm around Sin's shoulders and led him passed behind the couch, shielding the view of Sin's blood covered clothing from Drift.

"I can't believe this," Sin said in the hall, his voice catching on a sob. "I never meant for her to come to harm. It was just a game. Oh god, just a game and I didn't even really like her. Matt, I'm so sorry, so sorry!"

"I know Sin. She knew it was a game. She was playing one too." Matt pushed Sin into the bathroom and helped him shed his sticky shirt. "You can't keep blaming yourself."

"But it was my fault Matt! I was just using her. Using her to fuck with your head. Now she's dead and it's my fault! How can I live with that? One death after another, all because of what I did when I was kid. It never ends!" Sin sobbed and reached for Matt. Matt hugged him close, aware of the stickiness of the blood on their bodies, the metallic reek of it. He stroked Sin's hair and pressed a kiss to his temple. Matt knew he himself had an age of mourning to do but for now he felt nothing more than an empty echoing void within himself, a numb silence. For now he could be strong for Sin.

"Come on, let's get cleaned up alright?" Matt pushed Sin away and helped him out of his bloody clothes. Matt pulled off his own clothes and wadded them together with Sin's to be thrown away. He turned on the shower and led Sin in, turning him into the spray and watched as the water ran red off of Sin's flesh. Sin braced an arm against the wall and sobbed, head lowered, shoulders heaving. Matt let him cry it out, soaped Sin's hair and flesh before lathering his own body and rinsing. He pulled Sin from the shower, wrapped him in a towel and led him to the bedroom. He borrowed a pair of jogging pants for himself and found some shorts for Sin. Finally he bullied Sin into bed and brought him a stiff whiskey.

Estaban appeared in the doorway and smiled wanly. "We've got to go. I need to get Drift home. I'm sorry, but I don't feel he's safe here. I also have to check on the clean up. I'll call you okay?"

"Alright. Thanks Esty. You saved my ass twice today. I owe you. Sin and I both do."

Estaban nodded slightly, agreeing that they did indeed owe him. "Is there anything else I can do?" he offered.

"Would you call Miss Sylvia for me? Tell her what's happened, see if she has anything to give Sin to help him sleep." Matt sat on the edge of the bed and smoothed Sin's hair as he spoke. Sin looked numb now, staring vaguely at nothing, his face stained red from weeping, his lips pale with shock.

"Sure, I'll stop by there on my way home." Estaban turned away then looked back. "You did the right thing Matt."

"I know."

Matt heard the door close behind Estaban and Drift and got up to lock and bar the door. When he returned he lay down by Sin and pulled him close so that Sin could rest his head on Matt's chest. It wasn't long before Sin was weeping again.

"It should have been me," Sin muttered against Matt's chest. "I should have stopped this a long time ago. I should have just taken myself out."

"Shut up Sin, that's bullshit. Suicide is not an option. It shouldn't have been anyone. We'll get McKenna. We'll hunt him down."

"No, he's a slippery fuck Matt. You don't understand at all. He has money, lots of it. He can afford to hire lackeys to do his dirty work for him and keep his own hands clean. We can't get close to him. There just isn't a way to."

"We'll find a way. I promise. Try to sleep now."

After a long while it seemed to Matt that Sin was indeed drifting off to sleep but there was a knock at the door and Sin sat bolt upright and reached for a gun in the bedside table. Matt took it from his hand and went to the door scowling, the gun held low and tucked behind his thigh. He looked through the peep hole and was shocked to see Miss Sylvia herself standing in the hall. Quickly he unlocked the door and let her in.

"Where is he?" she asked as she bustled passed him, wheezing a bit from her long climb up the stairs, a large bag hanging from one shoulder and bumping her hip.

"In the bedroom, at the end of the hall," Matt said but as he spoke Sin emerged, another gun in his hand. Upon seeing Miss Sylvia he put the gun down on a table. His eyes were bleak as he stood silently and stared at her.

"Come here," she said gently, firmly, and he went, right into her embrace, his large frame dwarfing hers as she hugged him tightly. "It's all my fault," Sin mumbled and she patted his back affectionately.

"Now Michael, you know that is only partly true," Miss Sylvia said and Matt gaped at her. "You played your game but she played it too. You did warn her didn't you, that she could be in danger?"

Sin drew back and nodded wordlessly, his eyes searching the old woman's face. "You see, she knew it was dangerous to come here and she did it anyway. The part you played was small, the part she played was small too. You know that this goes way beyond what you did or what she did."

"Yes," Sin admitted, his eyes focused on something far away, something only he could see in his thoughts.

"Come sit down," Miss Sylvia instructed. "I'll make you some tea. Where's the kitchen?" She was already looking around for the right direction and Matt pointed her the way.

Sin collapsed down onto the sofa and Matt sat down with him, both staring at the squid as it flowed gracefully in the tank. Miss Sylvia came back with three cups and set them down on the coffee table then sat in a chair near them. "Drink up," she said, her voice stern. Matt and Sin each took a cup and sipped at their tea. Sylvia waited until she was sure they were doing as she said before sipping her own.

"This is too sweet," Sin complained.

"Drink it anyway, you need it." Miss Sylvia glanced around. She jumped a little when her eyes fell on the fish tank. "You really do have a squid."

"It changes colors sometimes," Matt informed her absently.

"Really?" Miss Sylvia was no longer looking the tank. She was watching Sin with a sharpness in her filmy eyes. He was sipping slowly but she could see that his lids were already a little heavier.

Matt drank his own tea, noting that it was just the regular tea that Sylvia always served him when he visited with her. He too was watching Sin, watching his face relax, his limbs grow heavy, his posture slouch. Finally Sin set his cup down, only half empty.

"I don't feel so well," he said, slurring a little. Suddenly he slumped to the side, against Matt's shoulder.

"Shit Sylvia! What have you done?" Matt asked alarmed as he put his arm around Sin and pulled him around and down so the he could rest Sin's head in is lap.

"It won't hurt him any. Estaban said he was really in a state and I knew I should bring something strong for him. I thought about giving you the same thing but you need to take care of Michael. You seem to be holding up pretty well but then I expected as much. It won't hit you for a while I think. He grieves now and you are numb. His grieving will pass quickly and turn to anger. Yours will not be so simple."

Matt frowned deeply. "She was my friend. I think I even loved the beginning at least."

"Yes, I know. You love someone else now though."

Matt scowled and shook his head. "You're wrong. Whatever I may feel is not love."

"No? What would you call it?" Miss Sylvia picked up Sin's cup and took it to the kitchen, pouring the rest of its contents down the sink. Matt was still scowling when she came back but Miss Sylvia was quick to note that his hand was absently smoothing Sin's hair with long stroking motions, his fingers straightening the damp strands.

"You can't deny your destiny Matt. Time has a way of showing you things that you didn't want to see. I told that girl that you would break her heart but she didn't want to believe it. If she had just let go this would not have happened. She put herself in danger by pursuing Michael. Now, I'm not saying she deserved what happened or that it was her own fault, by no means. She just got caught up in an ugly situation. A situation she had no business in and one that got her killed. Now you and Michael have to move past this. It won't be easy, and the road may be long, but you can move past it and be happy, eventually."

Matt stared at her a long time, his hand now still in Sin's hair. "How do you know so much about us, about our future, or are you just guessing? And you seem to know a lot about the present as well. You keep saying `this situation'. What exactly do you know about this situation? And don't say you saw it all in dreams, it's more than that and I know it."

Miss Sylvia smiled, shaking her head. "I've been lying to you a little Matt. I do have dreams, that is no lie, and my visions are powerful and true, but not all of my information comes from those sources. Let's just say I've taken a particular interest in you, I keep track of you in my own ways. I know all about Michael too. I know about Daniel McKenna and his father."

"Holy shit! How? How do you know?"

"I won't answer your questions Matt, not today anyway. When the time comes all will be revealed but until then you two have to lean on one another to get through this. It means a lot to me, to see Michael happy. And you as well. Now, I've left some tea in the kitchen. The black tin has the tea that I gave to Michael. Don't use it unless you have to. I've left instructions on how to brew it in the can. The other tin is just good old fashioned catnip tea. I've got a few things that I have to do. I'll call and check on you two later." Miss Sylvia gathered her large bag and showed herself out. Matt sat stroking Sin's hair and watching him sleep. After a while his legs started falling asleep so he carefully eased himself out from under Sin. He wondered if Trish's parents had been contacted yet and felt guilty for not going down to the hospital to be with them. He knew they would be devastated but he just couldn't face them, not yet, not while he felt numb, distant, removed. They deserved more than that.

Sin woke late in the afternoon and sat up blearily, rubbing his eyes. Matt was sitting in the chair near him, silently watching over him, a little worried over the potency of Miss Sylvia's brew. Sin groaned and put his hands to his head. "I think she poisoned me," he moaned, only half joking.

"No telling what's in that tea. Did you have strange dreams?"

"Not that I recall. Why?"

"Just curious. She gave me some tea once that gave me visions and dreams."


Matt shrugged. "I can't explain it. I realized that night though that I had to be with you eventually. It was right after that that I broke up with Trish."

At the mention of her name both men frowned deeply, wounded, and each feeling guilty for their own reasons. Sin leaned back into the cushions and sighed. "I should contact her family with condolences or something."

"Why? Did you ever meet them?" Matt asked, surprised.

"Once. Briefly. We were at a restaurant downtown and they came in. Her mother flat out demanded to know who I was and why Trish wasn't out with you. Apparently she hadn't told her parents of the break up and she seemed very embarrassed. When she told them that she was dating me I thought her mother would pass out right there in the floor."

"Katie really liked me," Matt said, thinking sadly of Trish's mother. He felt a deep burn of resentment that a woman like Katie, prim, clean, a little snooty but loving, had been exposed to a person like Sin. Sin was so beyond Katie's neat little world. He was the kind of man that Katie would call a monster of society. Brutal, cruel, cold, dark and selfish. Matt tried to shrug the thoughts away. It didn't really matter. Trish had chosen to keep company with Sin. Still, for a moment it felt like Sin had somehow touched a part of Matt's personal life and tarnished it. "I think Katie had the wedding all planned out in her head," Matt said, pushing away his dark resentments. "You know how some mothers are."

"Her father wasn't very pleased either, let me tell you. He eyed me head to toe like I was trash. You must have made a very good impression."

"I was respectable Sin, before I met you and fell through the cracks. The only complaint her parents ever voiced about me to her or to my face was that they thought my hair was a little too long. `Above the collar' was Gerald's motto."

"Are you saying I am not worthy of respect?" Sin demanded.

"No, I'm just saying you aren't respectable in their eyes. There's a difference there. You are just too...feral."

"Feral? What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"Just that. A wild thing. Hell, look at you." Matt waved a hand at him, smiling slightly. Sin was a mess, his hair mused, a red crease on his cheek from the sofa cushions, his eyes darkly smudged. Matt could just see him living in the wilds among wolves, eating raw meat, killing with his bare hands. Matt laughed out loud at the image in his mind.

"You're a dick," Sin muttered, wiping sleep from the corner of his eye.

Matt sighed and looked around. "We should start packing."

"What?" Sin blinked at him owlishly.

"You said you wanted an answer soon and the answer is yes we should try living together but I'm not moving in here. No way. I hate those damn stairs and there's no telling when they'll fix the elevator. Besides, this building is a dump."

"How can you think about us at a time like this?" Sin demanded. Matt could see that his emotions were still raw and close to the surface.

"Right now there is nothing else to think about. We can do nothing to change what happened this morning. Nothing. We know that McKenna has had this building watched. He probably is having mine watched as well but it's more open, less places for a gunman to hide in broad daylight. Hell, he probably just slipped out of that alley across from the building. I seriously doubt more than one or two people even looked at him twice. People don't want to see things here. They want to avoid trouble. My place has security and a neighborhood watch. Besides, you don't need to stay here either. Every time you walk out onto the sidewalk you will think of Trish dying in your arms. Now is the time to go Sin. Right now."

Sin looked stricken as if he were indeed reliving that awful moment when Trish had gone limp in his embrace, his hands hot with her blood. Matt crossed to him quickly and put an arm around his shoulders. "Don't think about it."

Sin looked at him blankly, shook his head to clear it and grasped Matt hard. "I don't want to see it again!" Sin groaned, hanging his head.

"I know, I know. Come on, we'll go down to U-Haul and get some boxes and rent a truck. I'm going to have to borrow some of your clothes for now. I don't want you here alone long enough for me to go to my place and back to get a change of clothes." Matt stood and offered a hand to Sin who took it and swayed as he stood.

"Damn, that shit Miss Sylvia gave me is still fucking with my balance. What is she, some kind of herb witch?"

"Something like that." Matt steadied Sin as they made their way to the bedroom. Sin collapsed down onto the bed while Matt plundered his closet. Matt striped away the jogging pants and struggled into a pair of Sin's jeans. They were a little snug at the waist and too long but they were not uncomfortable. He turned to find Sin watching him with haunted eyes.

"What's wrong?" Matt asked, alarmed.

"I hate myself. I can't believe I can be thinking of sex at a time like this." Sin turned his face away, his eyes closed as though he were in agony. Matt crossed to him and sat on the bed beside him.

"I don't want to sound heartless Sin. I'm numb inside, really numb, so maybe I'm wrong to say this but the fact is that you aren't the one that died. Your body is alive and will continue to function the way it usually does. That's not something to be ashamed of is it? Besides, sex is not only for pleasure you know. It is often something used to comfort and connect to someone else."

"I guess I wouldn't know anything about that," Sin said, his eyes going hard and flat.

"No? You've never made love to anyone, ever?"


"Come on Sin, surely you have. You can't tell me that every sexual experience you've ever had was for lust and lust alone."

"That's exactly how it's always been Matt. Always. I have sex because I like it, it gives me a feeling of utter control, a rush, a thrill. I have never had sex with someone because I loved them or cared for them, though I may done those things along the way, love and care I mean, but it didn't play a part in intercourse. Sex is nothing but a game for me, always has been and probably always will be."

Matt stared at him in astonishment. "But...but what about Daniel? You speak of him fondly and ..."

"Please Matt, don't be a fool. Daniel was my first. It was experimentation. That's it. We weren't in love for christ's sake! We were just teenage boys finding places to stick our cocks. Yeah, we were friends. Best friends as teens will call each other, and I was very fond of him but when we fucked that's all it was, two boys groping around and getting off."

Matt swallowed back a lump in his throat. "And after that Sin, what about your room mate...the one that you found shot in his bed? You never made love to him?"

Sin's mouth pulled in a sneering leer. "He was a pussy Matt, a real masochist. He helped me find the sadist inside myself. For that I am grateful. It's brought me no end of pleasure but certainly there was never anything gentle or..." Sin's eyes flashed up to meet Matt's mockingly, "...sweet."

"You can't tell me Estaban wasn't gentle and sweet Sin," Matt shot back, not letting Sin belittle him with that cynical sneer.

"Estaban...ah back to Esty now. Of course Estaban was gentle and sweet, that is his nature Matt, and each and every time I tried to hurt him, humiliate him, belittle him and Estaban being what he is let me do as I wished and yet he still felt no humiliation, no shame. He disgusted me Matt, not because I found him disgusting, but because he made me see myself as disgusting. So we entered this cycle of me trying to break him in my own self loathing and him bending easily to me like a damn willow. When I found that there was no excitement to that chase I gave him up."

"What about women? Haven't you ever made love with a woman?" Matt was suddenly assaulted with a vision of Sin fucking Trish, and then of Trish lying in a pool of her own blood and forced the thoughts away quickly.

"I have pretended to but I don't even like women Matt. I don't understand them and don't want to. I've fucked them when I had a need and couldn't find a man."

Or for revenge Matt thought bitterly but again he pushed the thought away, letting the numbness inside well up to cover even that old pain and obscure it, at least for the moment. Matt knew that he was not facing his emotions over Trish's death. He felt that these cold bubbles of resentment towards Sin were just symptoms of his buried grief. They would pass, once he had grieved they would pass. Sin seemed to see some hint of bitterness in Matt's eyes and tilted his head in a very Sin-like way.

"Are you angry Matt?"

Matt shook his head, his eyes focusing on Sin's. "No, I'm not. I was just thinking of Trish, of what she said before she..."

"She said she still loved you. Did you still love her?"

"No," Matt said without hesitation. "I'm not sure now that I ever did. Maybe I was just using her in my own way. I'm not sure."

"But you still cared for her?"

"Of course I did!"

"Why didn't you stop me Matt? You knew what I was doing. You knew I was out of control. You told me you had seen the bruises that I inflicted on her and yet..." Sin's voice caught and he stopped, looking away. "You still cared for her and yet you didn't save her from me."

Matt wasn't sure what to say, what to feel. Should he be angry at Sin for suggesting it had been Matt's responsibility to talk some sense into her? Was Sin right? Should he have at least tried, truly tried to keep Sin away from Trish? Could he have prevented the tragedy simply by caring enough to go to Trish and try to make her see the light? He could have easily admitted the truth to her, that he and Sin were lovers, that she was only caught in a game of `I can hurt you as much as you hurt me' between himself and Sin. If he had only told her the truth he had no doubt whatsoever that she would have walked away from them both and never looked back.


Matt turned his head slowly. There was something terrible in Sin's eyes, something that spoke of pain and loneliness, self loathing and fear.

"Matt, do you care for me? Even a little? I mean after all I have done to you...after I humiliated you this morning...even after I caused Trish's death...or is this a game for you now? I've always been the cat playing with the mice but..." Sin looked away, that terrible thing still staring out from the depths of his iris and Matt heard a groan, not from Sin, but from himself. He reached for Sin and pulled him close, resting his forehead against Sin's so that they were eye to eye.

"I care for you Sin. Don't ask me why. I have hated you, feared you, desired you against all I have ever been taught and yet, somehow, you got to me anyway." Matt felt a little uncomfortable, not sure if Sin wanted a declaration of love, something Matt certainly was not going to give but Sin seemed satisfied with what he had said and Matt sighed then brought his hands up to clasp Sin's head gently, to hold him eye to eye. "I want to make love to you Sin, just this once. No pain, no violence, no playing games. Will you let me?"

Sin said nothing, just remained locked with Matt's gaze, his eyes bleak with inner turmoil. Matt took his silence as...perhaps not assent, but at least not a rejection. Gently Matt lowered his lips to Sin's, his hands still on either side of Sin's head, pulling him in for a deeper exploration of his mouth. Without breaking the kiss Matt pushed him back onto the bed, one hand slipping around the back of Sin's head, the other going down to the mattress to support their weight as they eased back. Sin responded under him, his smooth chest arching up against Matt's furred one, a moan in the back of his throat as Matt thrust his hips against Sin's. Finally Matt pulled away and stood to strip Sin of his meager clothing and to peel away the borrowed jeans from his own body.

"It means nothing to me Matt," Sin confessed as Matt eased his body, now naked and hard, over Sin's. "It's just sex, just a release."

"That's alright," Matt muttered close to Sin's ear before trailing wet kissing down Sin's neck and shoulder. "If it's release you need then I'll give it to you."

Sin groaned as Matt continued to explore his body with his mouth, his hands, his touch warm and seductive. Sin lay unusually still beneath the onslaught, not struggling, no harshness in his body or hands. Matt looked up from Sin's stomach where he had been teasing his tongue in and out of Sin's bellybutton. There were silent tears in Sin's eyes as he stared up at the ceiling. Matt slid back up the length of him and licked away the tears.

"What is it that has you so devastated Sin? You admitted to me that you didn't even like her much." Matt asked, feeling a little angry, but more confused. Sin's eyes flicked up to Matt's face.

"It isn't about her though, can't you see? It's about you Matt. What I've done to you. I know you haven't started to grieve yet. You are still in quiet denial. Pretending it hasn't happened. Next you will become angry, very angry, and then you will see how much you will have to hate me now. This morning you came to me, not because you wanted to really, but because you felt you needed to. And as always I toyed with that. Don't you know how I will destroy Matt, destroy you utterly? Do you even know who you are anymore? I don't think you do. I have taken your identity from you. Trish was part of that and now she too is gone."

Matt could feel his heart thudding in his chest. He didn't want to hear what Sin was saying. He didn't want to think about it. If he just refused to really look at it in the light then Trish wouldn't be dead. It wouldn't be real. He didn't have to accept it as real. Oh, he could say the words but he didn't have to believe them.

Matt blinked and Sin could see that Matt had filed his words away to look at later, had brushed them to a corner and forgotten them already. "Sin, let's not talk about it, alright?" Matt lowered his head and kissed Sin deeply, almost desperately and Sin swallowed a sob in his own throat. Matt would hate him soon enough, for now Sin would take what he could and when Matt slipped down his body to pull Sin's cock deep into his throat Sin thrust into the warmth and let all his thoughts drift away. Matt's hands traveled over the tender spots of Sin's flesh as Matt sucked him, across hipbones, down the inner thighs, brushing behind the knees, cupping his balls, clasping his ass. Sin let Matt do as he wished and kept his hands limp on the bed, refusing to give in to the urge to reach down and tangle his fist in Matt's hair, to take control and hurt him. Matt moaned over Sin's cock, giving him the seductive vibrations that felt so good but Sin still felt no closer to cumming. His dick was hard and aching, his balls felt heavy in anticipation but no matter how long or how hard Matt sucked him Sin could not find release. Finally Matt sighed and looked up at him.

"It's not enough, is it Sin?"

Sin stared down the length of his own naked body to look at Matt and then shook his head before dropping it back to the pillow. "I told you, sex means nothing to me as a means of comfort, it's only good for a thrill. I know you are trying to help me Matt. But by now surely you know that I am indeed one twisted fuck."

Matt grunted, sounding both disappointed and almost cynical. Suddenly he leaned in and bit Sin very hard on his inner thigh. Sin bellowed and bolted into a sitting position, his hands automatically going to Matt's hair and pulling him back. Matt twisted his head and took Sin's cock again, feeling Sin's hands tighten, taking full control and push him down almost to the point of gagging him. Matt put up a small struggle, not enough to enrage Sin, just enough to get the job the done. Sin came suddenly, uttering harsh curses over Matt's head. Matt rolled away, wiping his chin.

"Damn you," Sin snarled. "I didn't want to get rough with you today."

"It's what you needed." Matt sat on the edge of the bed, his elbows on his knees, his head hanging, suddenly feeling a rush of despair beyond words. "I don't know why I am so drawn to you Sin. What is it? What the hell is it that brings me to you like this, wanting to let you control me, to own me as you put it? What the hell will I ever get out of it?"

"Nothing Matt. You will get nothing."

Matt nodded and sighed again but he felt Sin's warm hand slide across his shoulders and Sin pulled him in for an embrace, a kiss on the top of the head, a whisper of words too low for understanding. The despair seeped away and Matt wondered why such a small gesture meant so much. Not nothing, Matt thought. Sin gives more than he knows.

Feeling stronger, steadier, Matt pulled from Sin's arms and stood. "We have a lot to do."

"No, I don't think so."

"What do you mean? We need to get started packing Sin. There is no use in waiting around."

"I don't think we should do this. It won't work. Not now."

"It will work. Besides, I know you. If I leave now you will pack anyway, you will move on, running again. Not this time Sin." Matt turned away and scooped up the jeans. His dick was still semi hard but he just pushed it aside and zipped up.

Sin said nothing as he dressed. He wasn't really sure what he should do. He had spent far too long in this city, endangered far too many people, and he knew as long as he stayed that McKenna still had quite a variety of targets to punish Sin with. Sin glanced over at Matt as he pulled on a borrowed Chains t-shirt. Suddenly Sin wanted to push him down and hurt him, wanted to rip away all of Matt's emotional shields and expose the inside. Sin shook himself and turned away.

Once dressed they went down to the street and Matt hailed a cab, keeping a close eye on Sin. As soon as they had walked through the doors out onto the pavement Sin seemed to go into some kind of shock, he was pale, each step like a zombie, stiff and unnatural. Matt got him into a cab and hoped Sin wouldn't have a nervous breakdown, he looked so bad. Finally though they made it down to the U-Haul center and Matt rented a truck and bought moving boxes. He drove them back to the apartment and kept up a steady stream of chatter as they passed the spot where Trish had died only that morning, hoping to distract Sin from dwelling on it. Once inside Matt set Sin to packing his statuettes while Matt boxed up the few measly items in the kitchen. They worked steadily, stacking the boxes near the door but still didn't finish until after ten. Matt began carrying the smaller things down himself. The fewer times Sin had to go through the front doors the better.

Matt came up panting heavily after the sixth trip down with only a single big box each trip. "I think we should call for some help."

"I just did. They're on their way over."


"Esty, Drift and Ruben."

"That should do it," Matt said relieved.

The three of them showed up fifteen minutes later, Estaban tired and grumpy but understanding the necessity of getting Sin out of the building. With the five of them it took very little time though they did get complaints from Sin's neighbors about the noise, especially when Matt and Ruben accidentally bumped the couch into a door. Carrying that couch down all those stairs had both Matt and Ruben cussing. Matt had no idea where they were going to put Sin's furniture, his apartment wasn't big enough to hold his own and Sin's. Sin had said to simply leave it all behind, that he often had to leave such things behind but Matt wouldn't hear of it. Not this time. They decided finally to take it to a storage room below Chico's and leave it there. Finally they were down to one item left in the apartment; the fish tank. Matt stood staring at it, wondering how in the hell they were going to manage to move the monstrous thing.

"We can't throw the water out," Sin said, standing darkly at Matt's side. "We'll have to put it into containers and carry it with us. I don't have time to properly age and prepare more and he's real sensitive to water changes."

"What can we carry it in? We've packed up what few pots and pans you have."

They all stood and stared, frowning at the tank while the squid shot back and forth, changing colors and waving its tentacles, excited by all the commotion that had been going on around it.

"I don't like that thing," Ruben said, his head cocked to one side on his massive shoulders, "It gives me the heebie jeebies."

"What's that?" Drift asked, looking up at him in awe.

"You know, the creeps, the willies, the shivers. It's ugly." Ruben turned away and went to get a drink of water in the kitchen, Drift trailing in his wake and watching as Ruben used his big hands to catch the water from under the faucet and bring it to his lips.

"Hey," Drift said turning, his eyes alight with ideas, "What about all those big empty bottles in storage at the bar? Couldn't you wash them out and use those?"

"Might work," Esty said, fingering his chin.

"You'll have to make sure they're rinsed very well or you'll kill him," Sin said worriedly and Matt suddenly shot a resentful glance at the squid, wondering if Sin cared half as much for him as he did for the slimy creature in a tank.

"Leave it to me," Esty said with a shrug, "I'll get the girls out of bed to help. If I tell them it's for Matt they'll do a real good job."

"You got something going on with Esty's whores Matt?" Sin asked, not as lightly as he tried to make it sound.

"No, one little fuck and I'm branded for life."

"Retana spread it around that Matt has a magic dick and now all the girlies want to try it." Estaban smiled evilly. "I thought about telling them it was true."

"What's true?" Ruben asked as he came back in the room.

"Nothing, never mind," Estaban laughed with a wave of his hand. "Let's get this done."

In the end the squid was put into a cooler with some of the water from the tank and rode to Matt's apartment in Sin's lap. Estaban and Drift went for the bottles and drained the large tank one jug at a time. By the time they got the tank set up in a corner of Matt's apartment, got Sin's furniture stored at Chico's and Sin's personals unpacked it was nearly four in the morning. Estaban had gone from grumpy to waspish and Drift was literally dragging his feet. Only Ruben still seemed lively. He drove Drift and Estaban home in Estaban's car while Sin and Matt sat on the couch and looked around at the mess of unpacked boxes and scattered packing peanuts.

"Well, here we are," Matt looked over at Sin and gave him a small smile. Sin shrugged, seeming a little uncomfortable.

"It's been a long time since I have lived with someone."

"Well, we'll see how it goes. If we don't beat each other to pulp then we might do alright." Matt smacked Sin's knee as he stood up. "Let's go to bed. I'm beat."

"Yeah, me too. I know I slept part of the day but I feel done in just the same."

"Emotional exhaustion," said Matt as he led the way to the bedroom. He looked at his bed and suddenly realized that he would be sharing that bed for an indefinite amount of time with Sin. He had never let anyone move in with him before. He had let girls stay over for several nights in a row but never to move in. He felt a sudden moment of doubt. Glancing over at Sin he saw that he too was staring at that bed, that very similar thoughts must be going through his head. Sin suddenly laughed, a small snort of a sound but the first of its kind that Matt had heard from him all day. "It's a little late to get cold feet now, eh?"

"Yeah, a little." Matt pulled off the black t-shirt he had borrowed from Sin, now dusty and sweaty from moving boxes. He caught a whiff of himself and decided that a quick shower was in order before going to bed. "I have to hit the shower Sin, I smell like a stale horse."

Sin raised a brow at him, his mouth quirked in a smile. "I've noticed," he said leaning in and sniffing at Matt's neck, his tongue flicking out for a taste. "It's rather alluring."

Matt laughed and turned away.

"I'll join you." Sin pulled off his own shirt and followed Matt. Matt looked at him doubtfully, not knowing what to expect from Sin but Sin just climbed into the shower with him, soaped up and rinsed off without even giving Matt a second look. Matt felt Sin's nearness in his very core, the center of him reaching out in response to Sin's bare flesh so close to his own. Twice they brushed up against each other full length in the small confines and each time Matt wanted to moan. There was a dull ache in his balls now. He had found no release earlier in the day with Sin and he knew there would be none with Sin now. Quickly he finished washing and stepped out, his dick hard as a rock. Sin lingered in the shower and Matt took the opportunity to escape down the hall and pull on some boxer shorts. Sin came in wearing a pair of cut off jeans unbuttoned and lazy on his hips and Matt forced his eyes away. Sin's hair was neatly braided, though still a little damp and Matt wanted to take it down and run his fingers through it. Sin climbed into bed, arranging his own pillow that he brought carefully under his head and closed his eyes. Matt sighed and turned off the light before climbing into bed himself. For him it would be a long night. He wondered if he should make some of Miss Sylvia's tea for himself, just to kill his passion if nothing else. Much to Matt's surprise though exhaustion did its own work and his lust melted away quickly, leaving him drifting on the edge of sleep in only a few moments time. He felt Sin shift, turn over, then settle down. Matt inhaled Sin's scent deeply before relaxing and slipping into sleep.

Matt awoke to the sound of Sin's voice, cursing and growling threats. Matt rolled over to look at him and found Sin tossing in his sleep, mumbling and cussing. Matt reached out a hand and laid it gently on Sin's shoulder. Sin responded by twisting and punching him soundly in the ribs.

"Sin! Wake up!" Matt wheezed, rolling away quickly.

Sin sat up and shook his head. "Matt?"

"You were dreaming." Matt said quietly.

"I'm going to kill that bastard if it's the last thing I do!" Sin declared hotly. "I'm tired of him haunting me day and night, waking and dreaming. This has got to stop! How many more people will he kill just to get back at me? None, because I'm going to kill him!" Matt could see Sin's eyes gleaming in the dim light cast through the window from the street lights below. Matt reached out and grabbed Sin's arm, pulling him back down in the bed.

"We'll get him Sin. We'll get him together but for now lie down and rest. Try to go back to sleep."

Sin let himself be pulled down but Matt could feel his body tensing and trembling with rage. Leaning over him Matt kissed Sin's lips. For a moment Sin kissed him back his hand going to Matt's head and pulling him into the kiss harshly. Matt moaned but Sin pushed him away.

"Go to sleep Matt. I will only hurt you tonight and you've been through enough."

Matt wanted to protest. His dick was so hard, his balls tight, his pulse thudding through his veins. He wanted Sin to hurt him, to fuck him, to make him feel something. Inside he was numb and empty. He needed to feel, to live. But Sin had already turned onto his side, away from Matt, shutting him out. Frustrated Matt padded into the kitchen and brewed some of Miss Sylvia's tea but was careful to drink only a little. Finally he returned to the bedroom and lay down, careful not to let his flesh touch Sin's. Sleep came again at last, deep and dreamless, an escape into emptiness that was only a temporary retreat from a world of loss and frustration.